Thursday, November 25, 2010

South Col-Four Season Tent-Review

I received my South Col Four Season Tent yesterday and set it up this morning. I was really looking forward to seeing this signature tent by Brad Johnson, a man with over 35 years experience in mountaineering.

Unfortunately, the first time I set it up, one of the long aluminum poles broke right in the middle of the section. I created a repair sleeve from an old hiking pole of mine, carefully sanded it down and threaded it over the dome pole. Directions on how to make your own pole repair sleeve can be found at

This is a beautiful tent. Weights as follows: 9 pounds 7 ounces for the entire shipped weight, which includes 23 serious winter stakes, generous carrying case, body, fly and poles. I divided up the sections to see the weights into three, the capacity of this nearly square dome:
body is 3 pounds 3 ounces, fly is 3 pounds 6 ounces, and the rest of the equipment would add up to 2 pounds 12. The carrying case could be replaces with a simple silnylon stuff sack, saving nearly 3.5 ounces.

Its easy to pitch this tent, even for one person. Stake down the 4 corners, select and prepare poles for tent by laying diagonally across body. Place ends in grommets, gently curving and raising poles, clipping body to poles near bottom so they don't fall over.
The fly has two doors, just like the body. Sweet for couples sharing a tent.

This gear loft clips into place via decent plastic hooks. Of course, limit the weight suspended in this loft to minimal things or you'll risk a collapse. After seeing how easily one pole snapped, I am hoping that was a freak accident, but have placed extra repair sleeves in the stake bag.

This carrying case has handles and a length wise zipper. Roomy enough for winter pack ups when cold things expand and a person doesn't want to fight with a minimalist bag.
Its easy to see the designer of this four season tent appreciated wind. There are many staking points, guying points both at top and bottom. The heavy bungee cording at guying points shows the designer had significant experience with wind. This tent will stand up to bad weather because of the added flex, where for some tents there would be rigidity.
I'm really looking forward to a trail testing of this South Col tent. Lets pray for snow.

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